Exam Result Guidance

Update 20 August 2020

Brockenhurst College Students who receive GCSE Results today (20 August 2020)

As you will be aware the Government announced on Monday that your Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs)  i.e. the grades submitted by the College will now be used as your final grades, or if the standardised calculated grade was higher this grade would stand.  The exam boards have worked out which is higher and the grade you receive today Thursday 20 August is the grade you have been awarded.

For those students who have queried why their CAG grade was lower than you may have expected, for example, “I thought I was a 4 grade and I’ve got a CAG of a 3”, we will explain how we calculated the CAGs.  Once we ranked all students in your subject, we were required by Ofqual to carry out internal moderation.  If you got a lower grade that you were expecting, it is likely to be because your grade was on the border e.g. (5/4, 4/3 etc.).

The Government’s decision on Monday to award your CAGs as your actual grade removes any appeal the College can make on your behalf to use CAGs, mock exams or any other form of assessment as a basis on which to award your grade.  We will therefore not be able to progress any of these requests further.  This is why students may apply to sit the exams in October 2020 via Brockshop from 20 August at no cost.  This request must be completed by Tuesday 1 September 2020.

If you did not receive the grades you expected and you have a progression place, the Head of Curriculum will call you today.  If you have not heard from the College by 3pm today, please call main reception.

Currently there are only two further steps available to students, although these are likely to benefit very few:

  • Make a complaint using the College’s complaints procedure if you feel that there is evidence of discrimination in the final results
  • Make a complaint using the College’s complaints procedure if you feel that the College made an error in the process.

For queries regarding your results, please dial:

  • A-Level and Vocational results 01590 625566
  • GCSE results 01590 625391

Update 19 August 2020

A Level Students

As you will be aware the Government announced on Monday that your Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs)  i.e. the grades submitted by the College will now be used as your final grades, or if the calculated grade you received on Thursday 13 August was higher you will keep this higher grade.

We are so sorry that some of you have had to experience such turmoil, but please be assured that the College is managing this difficult situation as quickly as we can.

For those students who have queried why their CAG grade was lower than you may have expected.  For example, “I thought I was a B grade and I’ve got a CAG of a C” we will explain how we calculated the CAGs.  Once we ranked all students in your subject, we were required by Ofqual to carry out internal moderation.  If you got a lower grade than you were expecting, it is likely to be because your grade was on the border e.g. (A*/A, A/B etc).

The Government’s decision on Monday to award your CAGs as your actual grade removes any appeal the College can make on your behalf to use CAGs, mock exams or any other form of assessment as a basis on which to award your grade.  We will therefore not be able to progress any of these requests further.  This is why students may apply to sit the exams in October 2020 via Brockshop from 20 August at no cost.  This request must be completed by Tuesday 1 September 2020.

Currently there only two further steps available to students, although these are likely to benefit very few:

  • Make a complaint using the College’s complaints procedure if you feel that there is evidence of discrimination in the final results
  • Make a complaint using the College’s complaints procedure if you feel that the College made an error in the process.

Update 17 August 2020

The Government has announced that centre assessed grades will now be used to award A Level grades. This will affect a large number of students at both the College and at a national level. Students’ centre assessed grades have been uploaded on to the student portal so that they are able to view the grades submitted to the exam boards by the College. These are shown on the exam results page, on the copy of your examination results slip at the bottom of the page.

The College’s understanding is that the higher of the centre assessed grade or the previously awarded grade will be used to determine a student’s final grade. At the time of writing, we are still awaiting information from OFQUAL as to whether A Level grades will be reissued to students automatically or if students will need to follow an appeals process. We will update this webpage again as soon as we have further details. If you need to contact the College please phone our examination results line on 01590 625566.

If your university place has been affected by your results, the College would suggest contacting your university again and informing them of your centre assessed grades to see if they are able to reconsider the offer of a place.

Update 17 August 2020

For queries regarding your results, please dial:

  • 01590 625566 for A Level results
  • 01590 625391 for Vocational results

Update 14 August 2020.

Students may be aware that earlier this week the Government announced a ‘triple lock’ around A Level examination results and students who have not got the results they were expecting may be able to appeal based upon their mock examination results earlier in the year.

The College and the whole of the further education sector are currently awaiting further information and guidance from QFQUAL as to which students may be eligible for appeal and how this procedure will operate.

We are expecting further information in the next week and as soon as this guidance has been received we will provide further details via this webpage. Please contact our examinations office exams@wess.ac.uk if you have any further queries.

A Level or Vocational exam result guidance

We know that this has been a year like no other, and some of you may be disappointed by your results, feeling that you have not had the opportunity to show what you can do in your final exams.

Although we followed all the guidance and had in place a rigorous process for assigning your CAGs, Ofqual stated that they required to apply a standardisation model to ensure that grading is in line with previous years and as a result, the grades you receive may mot reflect that grades submitted by the College.

So what should you do if your results are not as you hoped?

The following information is a guide to your options…

Please note: Government Guidance regarding the awarding of A Level and GCSE results is changing on a frequent basis. The information below is correct as of Wednesday 12th August at 4pm. This page will be updated following any changes to guidance.

UCAS Clearing

If you have applied to university and have not been successful in getting a place at your first or reserve choices, then we would firstly recommend looking at options via the UCAS clearing service. Though there may be other options, we would normally recommend that if you do have the opportunity to progress, even if it might be to a different course or university then you should do so.

You can also use the UCAS clearing service if you have not yet applied to university but now wish to do so, and you can do this up to 20 October 2020.

Due to COVID-19, it is anticipated that there will be more places available through clearing for entry in September 2020 as students choose to defer their places or not go to university. So, strangely, this might actually be a good year to go to university as you may still be able to get on to a course of your choice even if you didn’t quite get the grades you wanted.

For 2020, UCAS are introducing UCAS PLUS, a new service which will automatically match you to the top 50 available courses based upon your application. For full details please see the UCAS website here: https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/results-confirmation-and-clearing/what-clearing

Stack of books on red background

For 2020, UCAS are introducing UCAS PLUS, a new service that will automatically match you to the top 50 available courses based upon your application. For full details please see the UCAS website here:

https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/results-confirmation-and-clearing/what-clearing

 

Centre Assessment Grades

Results days for A levels, Applied Generals (BTECs, OCR Technicals) on the 13 August and GCSEs on 20 August will feel different this year.  You may feel understandably more anxious about what the outcomes mean for you.

When schools and colleges were closed in March 2020 Ofqual identified the following aims of the process:

  • To provide candidates with the grades that they would most likely have achieved had they been able to complete their assessments in Summer 2020
  • To apply a common standardisation approach, within and across subjects, for as many learners as possible
  • To use a method which is transparent and easy to explain, wherever possible, to encourage engagement and build confidence
  • To protect, so far as is possible, all learners from being systematically advantaged or disadvantaged, notwithstanding their socio-economic background or whether they have a protected characteristic.
  • To be deliverable by exam boards in a consistent and timely way that they can quality assure and can be overseen by Ofqual

As a result schools and colleges were asked to assign centre assessment grades or CAGs for A levels, GCSEs, applied generals (vocational BTECs and OCR technicals) and Access Diplomas.

Students chatting on campus front lawn

Ofqual has published a student guide to help learners and their parents and carers understand how results have been awarded this year and where to find more information. There is also some updated centre guidance on VTQs here and a useful blog post here by psychologists from the University of Manchester Institute of Education aimed at learners who may be worried about GCSE or A level results this year.

This website provides a useful summary and short film on how you have got your exam/assessment results:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/your-results-what-next#resources-for-schools-and-colleges

How the College approached the task of Centre Assessment Grades

  • A rigorous process was put in place by the College for the assignment of centre assessed grades following the guidance publish by Ofqual, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and the guidance of exam boards and awarding organisations.
  • Candidates’ grades were based on evidence of their likely performance in assessments/exams had they gone ahead as usual.
  • Colleges would submit to the exam board/awarding organisation:
    • The grade the candidates would most likely have achieved
    • The rank order of each candidate within each grade for each subject/unit/qualification
  • Subject teachers identified the objective evidence that would be used in the assignment of CAGs – this included mock examination grades, non-examination assessment, homework. Where there was more than one teacher the evidence was agreed and applied consistently across all candidates.  This was a holistic professional judgement derived from evidence held by the College, balancing different sources of evidence.  This process was overseen by each Head of Curriculum initially.  In following Ofqual’s guidance the judgements were based on evidence produced during the candidates’ time at college – what was known about the candidates’ progress based on evidence.
  • The Assistant Principal for Learning and Quality managed the whole process from start to final submission as the delegated Head of Centre.
  • Once the CAGs had been produced by the subject teachers the first stage internal quality process took place at curriculum level. Heads of Curriculum and the subject teams had to agree overall CAGs and ranking for the entire cohort.  In doing this, they ensured that the agreed sources of evidence must have been applied consistently, properly and fairly and no equal ranks had been assigned as they were not permitted.
  • The second stage internal quality process involved comparing the proposed grade profile with the previous three years to ensure that the results were in line with past performance. At this stage Heads of Curriculum may have adjusted the grading if the profile was very different from previous years’ performance.
  • The College level internal quality process involved the Head of Curriculum presenting the process employed, the CAGs and rank orderings to the Assistant Principal (AP) Learning and Quality.

Students socialising in Hard Brock Cafe

  • At this stage the AP had the last three years’ of results for each subject from the College’s data team, as well as information on the performance of each candidate in each subject centrally. The data included for each candidate included average GCSE score, target grade, type of special consideration applied, quality target checks, mock examination results were relevant.  The subject data information included for the last three years: numbers of learners achieving each grade (number for GCSE) for each subject; % of learners achieving each grade (number for GCSE).  In addition a model was built to predict given this year’s cohort’s average GCSE score the distribution we would expect.
  • The CAG and ranking for each candidate within each subject was checked individually and the spread of grades compared to the models described above. In the small minority of cases some adjustments were made.   In addition, CAG and ranking information was checked to ensure that the criteria included balanced sources of evidence, applied consistently, properly and fairly, taking into account special exam arrangements, where they applied. At this stage, of the internal quality process, some changes to candidate CAGs were made.
  • The CAGs and rank orderings then had to be uploaded on to the exam board or awarding organisations’ portal. This was always done as a paired activity for uploading initially, and then the uploaded information was read back as a second check – each member of staff signed off the data at this stage before the final check by the AP/Head of Centre before final submission.  In total each piece of data for each candidate was checked at least 4 times in total.
  • Once submitted the exam boards/awarding organisations are required to apply a standardisation model developed by Ofqual to ensure the results are in line with previous year’s results, and where over or under-grading has occurred this is corrected.

To summarise and to reassure you:

  • Our teachers know their learners well and we were able to assess grades with a high degree of accuracy.
  • The grades centres submitted to the exam boards and awarding organisations were agreed by the college following an internal quality assurance process and are not the sole responsibility of any individual teacher.
  • The standardisation model developed by Ofqual and the awarding organisations is statistical and may not reflect the grades submitted by the centre
  • The standardisation process applied ensures grades awarded in 2020 are consistent with those awarded to other cohorts in other years
  • This was the fairest possible approach available under extreme circumstances. It is a rigorous process which means that grades awarded this year are as valid as in any other year
  • This will allow learners to progress to the next stage of their lives in the normal way.

Access to Centre Assessment Grades

Schools and colleges were not allowed to share CAGs or rankings with candidates ahead of results days.  CAGs are considered personal data and are not exempt from subject access requests.

The College will provide learners with their CAGs but not rankings on request through the completion of a Learner Request for Centre Assessment Grades from  Monday 17 August 2020.  Providing a candidate with their rank order could inadvertently reveal information about other candidates’ data and constitute a data breach.  In addition, knowing ranking is not particularly helpful to an individual candidate.

The College wishes to be transparent and the sharing of grades will take place in the context of a college-supported dialogue about your next steps.  It is important to note that CAG assess must be made by the candidates themselves.

Appeals

Like every school or college in England, we were asked to give our best assessment of what grade the candidate would be most likely to receive and to place candidates in rank order.  The purpose of this ranking was to allow adjustments to take place to ensure the distribution of grades at a national level was similar to previous years.

There will inevitably be some mismatch between centre-assessment grades and the final grades awarded to ensure consistency in grade distribution between years, and this was recognised in the process that was used.

As a process this has never been attempted before and was forced by circumstances which nobody could have possible foreseen.  Staff worked hard in a short time frame to provide grades for learners and to place them in rank order as fairly and accurately as possible.  Our two stage internal quality assurance process also ensured that grades and ranks across the College were applied consistently, accurately and fairly.  In addition, the AP/Head of Centre did check that results were as free from bias as possible, and measures were taken to reduce the possibility of unconscious bias, by reviewing the relationship between actual and predicted grades in previous years, as described earlier.   If the College had been a little ‘too generous’ or ‘too harsh’ this has been corrected for in the standardisation process.

You can only appeal your grade if you think there has been an error in the process.  You cannot appeal just because you do not agree with the grade you received neither can you appeal if you don’t agree with the centre assessment grade that was submitted by the College.

If you would like an opportunity to improve your grade, you can choose to sit exams in the autumn series instead, see next section.

You should speak to your school or college if you think there may have been an error and you might have reason to appeal.  Only College can submit an appeal.

It is important to remember that if you appeal your grade, it can go up, down or stay the same.  If someone else in your cohort appeals their grade and the exam board/awarding organisation finds an issue that affects other candidates’ results, your grade is protected and will not go down if the appeal was not made on your behalf.

  • Candidates should contact the College speak to the examination team if they think they have a reason to appeal.
  • Colleges can submit an appeal on a student’s behalf, and in some cases awarding organisations will accept appeals directly from learners.
  • Colleges which are unhappy with the result of an appeal can ask Ofqual to review the case through the exam procedure review service, rather than a complaint.
  • If candidates have concerns about bias, discrimination or anything else that suggests that their school or college did not behave with care or integrity when determining a centre assessment grade or providing evidence to the awarding organisation, they should normally raise these concerns with their college first. In some cases it may be appropriate to bring those concerns directly to the awarding organisation instead.
  • Further details on appeals processes are available on the awarding organisation’s websites.

Deadline for appeal 10 September 2020 (allows sufficient time to investigate and to submit to exam board/awarding organisation if appropriate, by 17 September 2020)

Take your examinations in the autumn

Learners entered for the summer series will have the option of entering for autumn series exams in October (A Level) and November (GCSE) and if they achieve a higher grade this will have the status of a final grade. Where the entry was in a previous institution, learners will need to be entered there, except for those who are in scope for the condition of funding (ie: have not achieved a grade 4) who wish to enter GCSE English or maths in November. This will take place in their college as usual, although given the disruption learners faced this year, colleges may choose to advise many learners to wait until summer 2021.

Learners should be advised to carefully consider whether the additional work involved in preparing for an exam in October or November will detract from their current studies, which may include catch-up activity and if they do, it may be wise to limit this to one subject entry. For learners who have successfully progressed, their time would generally be better spent on work related to their current programme. Where learners do enter autumn exams, whether at their current or previous institution, colleges should give permission for them to attend without any sanction for absence but there is no requirement to provide additional tuition or study leave for this.

It seems unlikely that many learners who have progressed to university will be wanting to take autumn series exams. It is also unlikely that there will be additional spring-start degree course options available in 2021.

Vocational and technical qualifications often have more assessment windows. Ofqual requires awarding organisations to offer these as usual and to consider offering additional assessment opportunities where they don’t already exist if reasonable to do so. The Ofqual explainer tool will be updated from 7 August to outline the next assessment opportunity for each vocational technical qualification.

Student working on laptop in STEM Centre

Please note that:

  • Unfortunately the College will not be able to run any additional classes or revision sessions to support learners who wish to take these examinations in the autumn. The College will, however, be able to provide access to online course and revision materials through the e.brock system to allow learners opportunity to study.
  • Learners will be not be required to pay for their examination entries.

Exam Dates

AS/A levels      5 October to 23 October 2020

GCSEs              2 November to 23 November 2020

 

Deadlines for entry

AS/A levels                                          4 September 2020

GCSE except English and maths    18 September 2020

GCSE English and maths                 4 October 2020

Returning to Brock to study

Some learners may feel that the best option would be to return for a year and restudy their subjects and take their examinations in June 2021. This may be an option, but unfortunately not all learners are eligible to return for further year of study.

If a student has already achieved the equivalent of two A Level passes, then they cease to be  funded by the Government for a further year in education to improve their grades.

Exceptions can be made, however, if it can be demonstrated that there were exceptional circumstances which meant that the student was unable to achieve the grades that would normally have been expected. Examples of this are a bereavement or serious accident in the run up to or during the examination period. The College is currently awaiting further information from the funding body as to whether the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak constitutes these exceptional circumstances.

Students studying in our Learning Resource Centre

Should you wish to be considered for a further year of study at Brock to improve your grades then please contact our Admissions and Progression Manager Steve Jenkin, sjenkin@brock.ac.uk

Contact Details

01590 625555